If you are like most Americans, you have likely experienced an episode of lower back pain at some point in your life. You may have tried a variety of self-help preventive treatments such as special insoles or back braces. However, a new study this week, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine (JAMA) suggests that exercise may be the best treatment, and those other treatments may be a waste of money.
Researchers reviewed 21 clinical studies, which included over 30,000 people who had suffered an acute episode of lower back pain, and how they were treated. They determined that exercise — almost any exercise — reduced the risk of a repeat episode within a year by 25 to 40 percent. The exercise must be sustained, however. The study did show that the prevention benefit of exercise decreases after a year.
It is important to note that there are some types of back pain that do require more intervention by a physical therapist or physician. Certain spinal conditions may require surgical or other treatments, such as steroidal injections.
Some examples of these conditions include:
- Disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spine trauma
- Spinal stenosis
Your acute back pain may be a sign of something serious. If you have sudden acute pain as a result of an injury, or if you also have sudden onset of fever, or changes in bowel movements, see your doctor immediately.